Cowabunga! - Swing For The Fences (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Swing For The Fences (2011)


Whenever I see an intentional or unintentional reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in music, my mind immediately wanders to Vanilla Ice's "Ninja Rap". Which can only bring forth certain adjectives like pathetic, gimmicky and shameful or maybe ironic. You should probably feel bad though if you enjoy it ironically or unironically, maybe even worse if it is ironically. But I digress, despite the band's name having an association with TMNT, it has nothing in common with "Ninja Rap". With a band name like this and an album entitled Swing For The Fences you still might get an association in your mind that carefree fun is going to ensue, and for the most part it does.

This is textbook late 90s Blink 182-style pop-punk and you can anticipate the directions the chord progressions are going to go, how the drums are going to hit, where the melodies are headed and the slant the lyrics are taking. Honestly though there be something disappointing if the guitar intro on "Postcards" lead into an instrumental surf jam instead of whoa-laden tale of balancing love back home as a touring musician. The only problem is the following track "Morven Park" sounds a little too similar to it. Perhaps because it is about love again and there the lyrics are very grounded in the temporal or for portions the both rely on the same fast punk beat.

Cowabunga! do have a few little flairs that might keep the Foot Clan on their toes that seemingly take inspiration from the post-Set Your Goals landscape but without making things sound cheesy as fuck. There is some hardcore-ish backup vocals and breaksdowns on "Run Along" and "Time To Talk" that really help build that teen angst feeling that we all love so much. "Out Alive" closes the album and it is probably the best thing on the entire EP, there is some nice drum fills and a big sing along part at the end that sticks with you like and jingle and makes you want to spin the record again even if the whole thing isn't that amazing.

If you miss the late 90s and doubling up on handlebars to go get pizza with your best pals, Swing For The Fences could be the key to your very own wayback machine. I wouldn't know because I was listening to Black Star and A Tribe Called Quest in the late 90s and eating ketchup sandwiches.